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Carr v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 23, 2018

Robert Carr, III, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Kurt Eisgruber, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 49G01-1611-F3-45688

          Attorney for Appellant Michael R. Fisher Marion County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          ROBB, JUDGE.

         Case Summary and Issues

         [¶1] Following a jury trial, Robert Carr was found guilty of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, a Level 3 felony; battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 5 felony; and escape, a Level 6 felony, among other offenses. The trial court entered judgment of conviction for the confinement, battery, and escape offenses only and sentenced Carr to an aggregate sentence of fifteen years in the Indiana Department of Correction. On appeal, Carr argues that the admission of a prior statement made by the victim to a law enforcement official violated his Sixth Amendment confrontation rights. Carr also argues that the statement constituted inadmissible hearsay. We conclude that Carr forfeited his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation regarding the prior statement due to his own wrongdoing. In addition, we conclude that the statement was admissible under the hearsay exception to the Indiana Rules of Evidence permitting the admission of a prior statement where the defendant wrongfully caused the declarant's unavailability for trial. Thus, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On November 18, 2016, Haley Price and her housemate, S.G., held a party with friends at their home on South Dequincy Street in Indianapolis. Carr and S.G. had dated and had previously lived together. However, Carr had not been invited to S.G.'s home that evening.

         [¶3] Carr, who was on house arrest and wore an ankle monitoring device, went to S.G.'s parents' home looking for S.G. When S.G.'s parents informed him that S.G. was not there, Carr went to Price's home. Price's grandmother let Carr in the home when he arrived during the party, and he proceeded to the basement where he found S.G. with the other party attendees. Carr was in the basement for two to three minutes before he asked S.G. to come outside to help him with something. S.G. left the basement with Carr.

         [¶4] Approximately twenty minutes later, Dakota Burgess drove up to the home and saw S.G. lying on the ground in a puddle, unresponsive. Burgess saw someone he could not identify climb into a car and quickly drive away. At the same time that Burgess arrived, Price's grandmother looked out the front door and saw Carr, who was bent down, get up with something in his hand. Carr got into his car and drove away rapidly. There was no one else around apart from Burgess and Carr when Price's grandmother looked out the front door.

         [¶5] Price called 9-1-1. During the 9-1-1 call, S.G. can be heard identifying "Robert" as the person who had stabbed her in the eye. Confidential Exhibits, Exhibit 3 at 2:59-3:19. When paramedics arrived, they found S.G. in critical condition. She was covered in blood, having sustained a stab wound to her left eye, a complex orbital fracture caused by a fist or a kick, and lacerations above her clavicle and on the posterior of her left thigh. S.G. was transported to the hospital for treatment. At the hospital, Detective Tobi Cobain took a statement from S.G. in which S.G. identified Carr as the person who held her in his vehicle while armed with a steak knife and stabbed her in her left eye with the same knife. Confidential Exs., Ex. 18 at 4-7. After interviewing Price, Burgess, and S.G., Detective Cobain concluded probable cause existed to arrest Carr.

         [¶6] On November 28, 2016, the State charged Carr with a number of offenses, including criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, a Level 3 felony; battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 5 felony; and escape, a level 6 felony.[1] On December 27, 2016, the trial court entered a no-contact order that prohibited Carr from having contact with S.G.:

in person, by telephone or letter, through an intermediary, or in any other way, directly or indirectly, except through an attorney of record . . . .
This provision shall also be effective even if the defendant has not been released from lawful detention.
* * *
This Order remains in effect until this case has been tried and the Defendant has been sentenced if found guilty.

         Appellant's Appendix, Volume II at 75-77 (emphasis omitted). Carr's trial was set for September 11, 2017. In March of 2017, Carr began sending letters to S.G. in which he apologized to her. On April 28, 2017, Carr's second attorney, Robert Alden, deposed S.G. The deposition was recorded but not transcribed. After taking S.G.'s deposition, Alden informed Carr that S.G. was "on board" and mentioned plea negotiations. Transcript, Volume II at 149. Carr rejected the ...


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